Theodor Seuss Geisel is the man behind the name Dr. Seuss. To this day his one-of-a-kind children’s books never get old. But the author that brought us books with silly words and lasting pictures for generations, may have a few surprising things up his sleeves.
- Dr. Seuss’ first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected twenty-seven times by numerous publishers before it was finally picked up and published by Vanguard Press in 1937. The difficulty for its publication was because the story was written in verse which was out of style at that time and highly criticized for its lack of moral messages for children.
The Voom that cleans up the pink stains that gets everywhere in Cat in the Hat Comes Back is theorized to be a representation of the uncontainable pollution and environmental hazard that could have occurred during the Cold War if nuclear weapons continued to be used.
- The Butter Battle Book was written cleverly as a way to allow audiences to consider the realist issue of using nuclear weapons. Random House Books published it in 1984, during the Cold War. It is theorized that Seuss left an open-ended ending in order to provoke a cognitive awareness of what could happen in a nuclear war without pushing a direct viewpoint.
- Dr. Seuss not only was a children’s book author and illustrator, but he was also a very active political cartoonist. He would often draw political cartoons that would speak volumes about American ideology, criticizing wars, race, and anti-Semitism.
- Dr. Seuss’ first wife Helen Geisel committed suicide at the age of sixty-eight. The cause for this, she wrote in a letter to Seuss, was that she knew he was having an affair and could not bear life without him.
- Dr. Seuss identified himself with his Cat character from Cat in the Hat and drew a self-portrait of himself as the Cat in the Hat. This was published in the July 6, 1957 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.
- The Cat in The Hat was Dr. Seuss’ attempt at getting Dick and Jane off children’s shelves because it appeared children lacked an interest in reading them. Seuss wanted to give children something more enjoyable they could learn to read to.
- Yertle the Turtle was based off of Hilter. Dr. Seuss had no problem with incorporating large grown-up ideology into children stories, like innuendos for what Hilter was doing in Europe in this well-known work. This was also the first ‘burp’ ever written into a children’s book.
- Theodor Seuss Geisel started his pen name Dr. Seuss after getting caught hosting a drinking party at Dartmouth College where he was the editor in chief to the college’s magazine. His tenure position was revoked and so in order to still contribute to the magazine he began signing his work by the name Dr. Seuss.
- Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated
forty-four children’s books.
Notes and References:
- Nel, Philip. "Dada Knows Best: Growing up "Surreal" with Dr. Seuss." Children's Literature 27.1 (1999): 150-184.